The Missouri basketball team's regular season was a ride of ups and down. Each player on the team faced inconsistencies at different points throughout the year. Everyone expected Phil Pressey and Laurence Bowers to be the unquestioned leaders for this season's team, but as Joe Walljasper pointed out in the game against Arkansas, there have been a couple of unlikely players stepping up for the Tigers.
Walljasper's tweet really started me questioning how I valued the players on Missouri basketball team. Phil Pressey has struggled all season long, but would I really pick Keion Bell ahead of him? I began pondering the order in which I would draft each Missouri basketball player. So, I recruited fellow CollegeSpun writer Andy Tabor to participate in a full pickup draft of the Mizzou basketball team with me.
First, some ground rules. These teams were drafted on the basis that we would play a game between them afterwards. This means that previous picks and matchups were taken into consideration. There are 14 players on the team, so we each got seven players and had to fill in a starting five with two bench players. Andy won the coin toss, earning the first pick, and we chose in alternating order throughout. Let's get to the results:
Round 1, Pick 1 Alex Oriakhi (Andy)- I would make Mr. Oriakhi my first overall selection because of his aggressiveness and the fact that I don't think anyone else on the board could realistically shut him down when the two teams would play.
Round 1, Pick 2 Laurence Bowers (Matt)- As soon as Andy took Oriakhi, I was smiling from ear-to-ear -- Bowers was the guy I wanted with my first pick. I think he is the most important player on the Missouri basketball team so I wanted him to lead my squad. Bowers can control the boards while also going outside for some long-range shots. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have fifth-year senior and his experience, either.
Round 2, Pick 3 Phil Pressey (Andy)- I was counting on Matt taking Bowers second overall, so it was an easy choice to take Phil with my second pick. He and Oriakhi have played together on the same AAU team so I think this fact alone will allow them to work well together on pick and rolls confusing the opposition.
Round 2, Pick 4 Keion Bell (Matt)- Once again, I was very happy with Andy's selection. Keion Bell may not be the most talented player on the team, but he has definitely been the most consistent. This pick ensures that I have a good ball handler who won't succumb to pressure. Bell is also the best defender on the team, so I'm hoping that he can shut down Pressey.
Round 3, Pick 5 Jabari Brown (Andy)- With a firm point guard and certified big man the natural selection would be a swingman that can hit the occasional trey. Brown is the best wing for Missouri in my opinion and he would be a great compliment to Oriakhi and Pressey.
Round 3, Pick 6 Earnest Ross (Matt)- Jabari Brown is one of the most frustrating players in my opinion, so I will happily take Earnest Ross. Brown might be the better three-point threat, but Ross can get hot from long range as well, and Ross plays better defense, an aspect of the game where Brown is a liability. For my team, I expect Ross to drive to the basket, while also knocking down his wide-open shots.
Round 4, Pick 7 Tony Criswell (Andy)- Criswell represents the type of forward/guard hybrid I also envisioned myself becoming in high school. After my height didn't cooperate I realized my dream was over. So that's my reasoning for Criswell, I see some of me in him and know that I/he would succeed as a hybrid alongside the other players I have assembled.
Round 4, Pick 8 Stefan Jankovic (Matt)- When Andy took Criswell with the last pick, I had to accept the fact that he was going to play bigger than me. Therefore, I need to construct my team to play some small ball. Of the three freshman playing this year, I have been most impressed with Jankovic. He plays with the type of reckless abandon that I think my team needs. Jankovic isn't afraid to take a foul if he needs to and can shoot a three from anywhere. Additionally, Jankovic is tall enough to hang in there on the boards and pick up some rebounds for me. it would also be nice to get a couple of his high-flying dunks in the game as well.
Round 5, Pick 9 Ryan Rosburg (Andy)- At this point I am trying pick a more physical team that can pound it inside and, if in trouble, kick it out for three. Rosburg represents the post player who would try and take pressure off of Oriakhi with screens and he can kick it out for a three. Rosburg would be my unselfish role-player.
Round 5, Pick 10 Jordan Clarkson (Matt)- Jordan Clarkson is the wild card in this whole draft. Clarkson, a transfer from Tulsa, is currently sitting out this season before he is eligible to play next year. I don't know a whole lot about him since he isn't playing, but I don't really like anyone else left so I feel like this would be a good time to take a chance. Clarkson is the last player in my starting five, so I'm relying on him for some good defense and scoring when he has his chances.
Round 6, Pick 11 Dominique Bull (Andy)- A little used physical guard, Bull would be the perfect replacement for when I take Pressey out for taking too many three's or having too many turnovers. Bull could guard Keion Bell using his physicality and on offense just allow Jabari Brown to create his own shot or throw it into the post for Oriakhi to have a chance at the rim.
Round 6, Pick 12 Negus Webster-Chan (Matt)- Going to the games with Andy, I know he is not a Negus fan, so I have been penciling him in to this spot the whole draft. Negus has struggled this season after high expectations that he could fill in as the backup point guard. For this draft, I believe that Negus has great value as the first guy off the bench. He can fill in at point guard when Bell needs a rest, or also play the two if Clarkson struggles.
Round 7, Pick 13 Corey Haith (Andy)- The way I see it, if you can't have coach Haith coaching this squad might as well have the next best thing, Corey, Frank's son. He would primarily serve as a coach with his main role subbing players in and out, calling timeouts, and of course ripping off his jersey in disgust when Phil Pressey shoots an air-ball from the three-point arc. Haith would eventually find his way to the court once my superior team had beaten down Matt's enough -- but if for some strange reason the game was within 10 points Haith would be relegated to coaching duties. Like father like son.
Round 7, Pick 14 Danny Feldman (Matt)- As much as I love Corey Haith, I'm happy Andy took him, leaving me with Danny Feldman. My team is small, so it's nice to have a big man as my last guy off the bench. Feldman isn't very good, but if my team inexplicably gets in foul trouble, I can throw him in there and allow him to hold his own on the boards, passing it to the rest of the team as soon as he gets the rebounds. Heck, when I'm winning by 20, I might let him take a shot or two as well.
PG Phil Pressey, SG Jabari Brown, SF Tony Criswell, PF Ryan Rosburg, C Alex Oriakhi
Dominique Bull, Corey Haith
PG Keion Bell, SG Jordan Clarkson, SF Earnest Ross, PF Stefan Jankovic, C Laurence Bowers
Negus Webster-Chan, Danny Feldman
So there we have it; a classic matchup of small ball vs. physicality. Who's team would win? Vote in our poll below with your opinion on who had the better draft of the Missouri basketball team.
Which team would win the Mizzou pickup game?